Austin ISD launching three new language programs

Austin ISD expanding language courses to students

AUSTIN - Many middle and high school students take foreign languages like Spanish, French or German, but Austin ISD is making three additional languages available to students in the 2016-17 school year.

"Next year we're going to be adding Arabic, Korean and Vietnamese, so that will make a total of 10 options that we'll have for our students," said AISD World Language Coordinator Tina Dong.

At Travis Early College High School, a handful of students are learning to read, write and speak Korean. Youn Ko has taught a Korean enrichment program on the campus for the past four years.

"They very interested in the culture," Ko said. "They very excited to learn Korean."

Next year, Austin ISD is adding Korean as a foreign language class.

Ko expects to have many more students.

"I'm very excited next year Korean is officially a foreign language in the state of Texas," Ko said.

Travis is the first school in the state to offer Korean as a foreign language credit.

Summitt Elementary students enrolled in the district's Vietnamese Dual Language program will now be able to continue learning the language as they grow older. Austin ISD will offer Vietnamese at Murchison Middle School as full-fledged language courses.

"It will simply be an extension and providing instruction to those students are they venture into the middle school ," Dong said.

AISD has also been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Qatar Foundation to launch a new Arabic language and culture program.

It starts next year at Burnet Middle School, Austin High and the International High School. Not only do the new offerings showcase the district's diversity, it's also a way to prepare scholars with the skills they need to interact with others from different cultures in college and a career.

"The fact that the district is now offering them hopefully that will allow our students to tap into global markets that haven't been accessible before," Dong said.

Go here for more information on foreign languages offered by Austin ISD.

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